2.1 Methodology and approach
The implementation of the study was based on the following global organization:
i) The conduct of case studies in each of the six countries chosen by a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional team.
ii) The global coordination and direction of actions by two international consultants also mandated with the general synthesis of the results of the study.
The study methodology was designed on the basis of four priority areas of investigation described in the Terms of Reference (TOR) (Annex 5) of the study:
The identification of the diversity of SL groups concerned by artisanal fishing and their strategies.
The potential and contribution of fishery research to the SLs of these populations.
PIPs in research.
Key lessons and activities to improve the contribution of research.
In relation to the basic principles of the SLA, this study has been conducted in partnership with public and non-governmental actors, emphasizing dialogue and participation at all stages. The participatory approach of this study was demonstrated first at a planning workshop organized by the SFLP in Cotonou (Benin) in October 2001. This meeting brought together representatives of the NCUs, fisheries research and the NGOs with the aim of examining, validating and finalizing proposals on methodologies and also come to an agreement on expected outputs of the study and the responsibilities of each actor. A summary of some indicative methodologies, as well as distribution of tasks is to be found in Annexe 1 and 2.
The other elements of the methodology comprised the following key points:
i) Constitution of national work teams according to a participatory approach. In all the countries concerned, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional teams (including representatives of public institutions: research, university, support structures, NGO, professional organizations) were set up.
ii) Data collection in relation to the five major study points.
iii) Data processing and the drafting of interim outputs and final documents.
iv) Validation of interim and final outputs at country level. Thus, in each country, national validation workshops were organized and brought together all categories of actors involved with the subject (users, researchers, technicians, decision-makers).
This participatory approach, developed throughout the different stages, was designed to guarantee the final appropriation of the outputs in each country and contribute to building the capacities of the research institutions involved.
2.2 Limitations of the study
One of the major limitations to the study was the fact that meagre financial resources did not permit the international consultants to give more sustained support to the different nationals at certain critical times. This led to bias in the acquisition of certain data, as well as the detailed consideration of certain analysis. This drawback is the reflection of imbalances found between national documents in terms of the amount of qualitative and quantitative information. Of course this situation obviously has consequences on the depth of certain analysis made in this synthesis.